Climate change will affect national parks, forest reserves and other protected areas around the world, in some cases altering conditions so severely that the resulting environments will be virtually new to the planet, according to a study presented at the U.N. climate change talks in Bali, Indonesia.
Scientists from Conservation International (CI), the University of Wisconsin and the University of Maryland analyzed the World Protected Areas Database with ten Global Climate Models and three different scenarios examined by the U.N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.
They found that under the most likely scenario, more than half the world’s protected territory is vulnerable to impacts of climate change, with some regions facing the disappearance of current climatic conditions by 2100 or a transition to conditions not found on Earth in the previous century.
“We previously assumed that if the land is protected, then the plants and animals living there will persist,” said Sandy Andelman, lead author of the study and CI’s vice president who heads the Tropical Ecology Assessment and Monitoring (TEAM) network. “That may be wishful thinking.”
Countries where 90 percent or more of the total protected territory has climate conditions that will disappear globally or be transformed to novel climates are Benin, Bhutan, Bolivia, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Colombia, Cuba, Ecuador, Ethiopia, Ghana, Guyana, Ivory Coast, Mexico, Niger, Rwanda, Sri Lanka, Sudan, Swaziland, Togo, Uganda and Venezuela.
With millions of people living in the most seriously affected countries, maintaining the health of protected areas and the biological diversity they contain is crucial to the availability of fresh water, food, medicines and other life-sustaining benefits of nature.
However, the study indicates that climate change will cause increased extinctions of species unable to adapt to altered climatic conditions, and substantial changes to the natural ecosystems.
“We urgently need to better understand how climate change will affect life on Earth so we can develop solutions, and to do that we need consistent data about long-term trends at a very large scale,” Andelman said.
Her TEAM network, established through CI funding, monitors such long-term trends in the biological diversity of tropical forests. A network of tropical field stations using standardized methods of data collection allows scientists anywhere on Earth to quantify how tropical nature is responding to climate change and human impacts. The first five TEAM sites operate in tropical forests across Latin America, with the program expanding to Africa and Asia by the end of 2008 and plans for 20 sites on three continents by the end of 2009.
The study also identified “refuge” countries where protected areas face minimal risk from climate change, including Botswana, Equatorial Guinea, Gabon, Guinea-Bissau, Liberia, Libya, Madagascar, Mali, Mauritania, Mozambique, Myanmar, Namibia, Saudi Arabia, Sierra Leone and Somalia. Ensuring the adequate protection of nature reserves in these countries will provide baseline information to help understand the dynamics of biological diversity relatively unaffected by climate change.
Along with Andelman, the paper’s authors are Jan Dempewolf of the University of Maryland, Jack Williams of the University of Wisconsin, and two members of CI’s Center for Applied Biodiversity Science – Jenny Hewson, a remote sensing specialist, and Erica Ashkenazi, a GIS specialist.
Tom Cohen | EurekAlert!
Project provides information on energy recovery from agricultural residues in Germany and China
13.02.2020 | Deutsches Biomasseforschungszentrum
New exhaust gas measurement registers ultrafine pollutant particles for the first time
21.01.2020 | Technische Universität Graz
The operational speed of semiconductors in various electronic and optoelectronic devices is limited to several gigahertz (a billion oscillations per second). This constrains the upper limit of the operational speed of computing. Now researchers from the Max Planck Institute for the Structure and Dynamics of Matter in Hamburg, Germany, and the Indian Institute of Technology in Bombay have explained how these processes can be sped up through the use of light waves and defected solid materials.
Light waves perform several hundred trillion oscillations per second. Hence, it is natural to envision employing light oscillations to drive the electronic...
Most natural and artificial surfaces are rough: metals and even glasses that appear smooth to the naked eye can look like jagged mountain ranges under the microscope. There is currently no uniform theory about the origin of this roughness despite it being observed on all scales, from the atomic to the tectonic. Scientists suspect that the rough surface is formed by irreversible plastic deformation that occurs in many processes of mechanical machining of components such as milling.
Prof. Dr. Lars Pastewka from the Simulation group at the Department of Microsystems Engineering at the University of Freiburg and his team have simulated such...
Investigation of the temperature dependence of the skyrmion Hall effect reveals further insights into possible new data storage devices
The joint research project of Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz (JGU) and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) that had previously demonstrated...
Researchers at Chalmers University of Technology, Sweden, recently completed a 5-year research project looking at how to make fibre optic communications systems more energy efficient. Among their proposals are smart, error-correcting data chip circuits, which they refined to be 10 times less energy consumptive. The project has yielded several scientific articles, in publications including Nature Communications.
Streaming films and music, scrolling through social media, and using cloud-based storage services are everyday activities now.
After helping develop a new approach for organic synthesis -- carbon-hydrogen functionalization -- scientists at Emory University are now showing how this approach may apply to drug discovery. Nature Catalysis published their most recent work -- a streamlined process for making a three-dimensional scaffold of keen interest to the pharmaceutical industry.
"Our tools open up whole new chemical space for potential drug targets," says Huw Davies, Emory professor of organic chemistry and senior author of the paper.
12.02.2020 | Event News
16.01.2020 | Event News
15.01.2020 | Event News
24.02.2020 | Life Sciences
24.02.2020 | Materials Sciences
24.02.2020 | Earth Sciences